And I thought boys were bad...

All the dirt of boys, plus the attitude...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Argument vs Debate

There is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.  I'm thinking about it more and more as elections come closer and people get more and more passionate about their ideas and ideals.  I have seen/heard/read a lot of arguments that end in ways that the people having them probably won't ever speak to each other again.

See, all my life I wondered what the difference between an argument and a debate was.  I'm thinking I might have finally figured it out.

Let's start with definitions.

The definition of argument is: 1) An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one. OR 2) A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong. (source)

The definition of debate is: A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward. (source)

I am starting to realize that all my life I have been confusing things.  All this time I thought people were debating issues when really they were arguing.  The goal is to change the other person's mind.

See, but that's a problem.  Why can't it be enough to simply put our ideas out there?  Why can't it be enough to simply be heard?

I think we would all get along better if we could debate issues instead of argue them.  If it was ok to disagree.  I mean, really, most of the things people argue about are not hard and fast facts.  They are opinions.  Why not just present yours and leave it at that?

That's what I am trying to teach my girls.  Debate rather than argue.

What do you think?

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Value Of Education

With all the things I have been involved in over the last year, I have had the opportunity to observe many different sets of parents and children.  I get to see what others are doing, decide if it's something I want to try with my own, and see if it works.  It's actually pretty cool to be in this position.  I get to take tips by observing other families and see if they work with mine.

I mean, let's be honest here.  No one absolutely knows how to parent when they become one.  I don't think anyone really knows what they are doing the whole time they are raising their kids.  We do our best with the information and experience we have and hope that what we did was good enough.  We try to instill the values that we think are important and hope that those values will, not only stick, but be helpful to our children as they grow and join the adult world.

One of the values that I try to instill in my kids is an appreciation for education.  I want them to know that school is important.  Both my girls are aware that education does not stop at high school.  College is a requirement, not an option.  But how do you make sure that they think education is important?  How do you really teach them that education comes first and everything else is secondary?

Easy, well, not really...simple.  You make education a priority for YOU.  When it comes time to do homework, sit down with your child and be there to do it with them.  When there is a school function, make sure you are there.  If there is an option between some adult get together that your kid can't go to or a school family night...do the family night.  Email the teachers.  Pay attention to grades.  You have to make education a priority if you want your kids to.

All too often I hear parents complain that their kid is not doing well in school, but then when an opportunity presents itself to show their kid that education is important...they fail.  They don't do it.  There are some things we can tell our kids and hope they stick.  That education is important is NOT one of them.  Our kids need to see that we value their education if we want them to.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wonders Never Cease

Man, sometimes it's so hard to be a parent.  Other times, it's freaking amazing.  I have had both of those feelings this weekend...

My girls have been little butt-heads lately.  Yes, I said "butt-heads."  Trust me, it's the nicest word I could think of, and the only one I thought of that I would post online.  lol  Really, though.  They have been fighting with each other, arguing with me, breaking every rule we have (and we don't have many), and their section of the house has continued to look like a freaking pigsty no matter how many times I tell them to clean it.

It all came to a head Saturday night.  We were at a friend's house and they were just horrible!  I mean, it's one thing to argue with each other and be little butt-heads IN the house, but OUT?  That's just ridiculous.  There is no room to send them to.  There isn't much to do in the way of time out.  I'm pretty limited in my consequences when we're out.  Usually it's a lecture and some consequences dolled out for when we get home.

Sunday was consequence day.  They were sentenced to a day of cleaning.  Miss A had to do the toilets and CC the floors in the bathrooms.  On top of that, they both had to deep clean their rooms and make sure their hallway was spotless.  Their hallway always seems to have little pieces of garbage in it.  It doesn't matter how many times I clean it, it's always there.

I really expected them to give me a load of crap when it was time to do their consequences.  I mean, cleaning toilets and floors is really the ickiest consequence we have ever given them.  I would throw a fit if I were them...but nope.  No fits.  No arguments.  No nothing.  I got, "yes, ma'am" and "ok, mom" all day long.  It was great.

Of course I helped CC clean her room.  She's 6 and a deep clean isn't really something she can do on her own after a month of half-assed cleaning.  Miss A did a wonderful job on her room all by her self.  =) 

I'm a pretty happy mama right now.  My kids accepted their consequences with no problems.  They both expressed that it was gross and that this was, "the worst consequence ever" without attitude.  They seemed to really get that they should take it seriously.  We even had a talk at dinner about how their attitudes have been pretty crappy lately, or messy, and that they need to clean them up, just like they did with the house.  As I've said before, I feel it's really important to make the consequence relate to the behavior so that it actually means something and the kids can learn from it.  All in all, it was a pretty awesome day.

Have you ever assigned manual labor as a consequence?  What kind of reaction did you get?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Parents of Adult Children

Dear Parents of Adult Children,

I want to tell you something.  Before I do, I want you to know that I respect you for raising children that grew into adulthood.  No matter how many times your child(ren) fought you, broke the rules, challenged you, and made you think you were going to be locked up in a looney bin, you didn't kill them.  You got through it and you made it out the other side.

Guess what?  You are done.  You get to sit back and only step in if and when they ask, IF you choose to!  You don't have to oversee their every decision.  You don't have to pass judgement on every facet of their lives.  You get to be a real live post-children-grown-up!

I say this because I have heard a lot of talk, lately, from a lot of different people about the decisions they don't approve of that their kids have made.  I've heard about adult children complaining because mom and dad are still trying to do everything for them.  I am lucky.  My parents have long ago realized that I am a full grown adult and that I make my own decisions.  I have children that are raised by mine and my husband's standards and no one else's, because, well, their our kids.

Parents of adult children, you get to take this part of your life and relax.  You raised your children.  They are living their own lives right now.  Have some confidence in your parenting over the last 18+ years and LET GO.

Monday, September 10, 2012

There Is A Gecko In My House

Yes, you read that right.

"Why haven't you gotten it out yet?" you might ask.  That's a great question, but first you need the story of how it got in...

A couple of nights ago, after coming home late, Hubby took the dog out back.  While he was out there, he saw a baby gecko hanging out in the grass.  Cool, right?  Sure!  Geckos are awesome!  I love that they are all over the place out here.  We even have a family of them living in our garage.

I don't mind them.  They eat other bugs like spiders, and we all know how terrified I am of those f-ers...

So what does Hubby do?  He picks the gecko up and...wait for it...BRINGS IT INSIDE...

Hubby: "Look, babe!  A baby gecko!"

Me: "Where? Do you have it in the house?"

Hubby: "Yup! Get a picture!"

Me: "Why the hell do you have a gecko in the house?  Get it out of here.  They live outside!"

Hubby: "Just take the picture."

I get my phone and am opening the camera as Hubby is opening his hand and...wait for it...the gecko jumps out of his hand and takes off under the table.  Hubby tries to grab it just as it disappears under the couch...

Now, this guy is tiny and moving the couch is not going to help find it.

So, yeah, he's still here somewhere...that is if my cat hasn't eaten him yet...

The girls love that he's hiding in here somewhere and are each hoping to be the one to find him.

Hopefully we will find him on a wall somewhere and not in pieces on the floor.

UPDATE:

                I found the little guy this morning.  He was hanging out in the kitchen.  He is now free and outside.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hard Work Pays Off

About a month and a half ago, I shared with you some solutions I had come up with to a problem with my town's education system.  Basically, the school was going through I really hard time due to a BUNCH of state cuts.  They were going to have to resort to charging kids to ride the bus to school, raising activity fees, cutting the art and music programs in half, and a bunch of cuts that would have a detrimental effect on the kids and their education.  Hubby and I were not happy with this and decided to help.

We got involved with a community group that was just starting up.  The group's first goal was to pass something called a Tax Ratification Election for the school district.  The short explanation is that for about $14 a month for the average home owner in our city, our district would be fully funded for the next 4-5 years.  Sounds like a no brainer to me.

We had some opposition in town.  There are always people who are against taxes simply because they are taxes.  That's fine.  I can respect that.  The cool thing, though, is that we had a LOT of support in our town as well!

Well, the election was this last weekend and the proposition PASSED!!!!

We are so happy!!

My girls helped with this: making signs, going to meetings with us, behaving while we did other things...It's awesome to be able to show them that hard work pays off!  This is the best kind of lesson that they can be taught: that they have a voice.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mommy Trials...

I mentioned in my last post that I needed a break because I had a lot going on.  The deal is that I needed a break to gather my thoughts about what was going on.

A few days before my last post I found out that I would not be able to attend my university of choice.  The reason?  I have to work and my university doesn't offer the online classes that I would need.  It's frustrating for me because now I am back in community college taking two classes that I may or may not need for my degree.  I have worked so very hard to get to a place where I could attend a university and now I can't do it.

I applied to this university just before we moved to Texas.  I was admitted, but could not attend because out of state tuition is over three times as much as resident tuition.  I decided to take the year needed to become a resident and wait.  I took a couple classes at a local community college.  You know, just to get through requirements.  Then, last February I reapplied.

I was terrified that I wouldn't get in simply because I had turned down my acceptance from the year before.  I got in, though.  I was pretty excited.  I was also really nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it.  That somehow I would end up being the stupidest person in the class and that I would fail everything.  Now, this is completely irrational.  I am pretty dang smart and I have never failed anything I haven't tried to fail (that's a different story).

So I had finally pretty much gotten over my fear of the university when I realized that I wouldn't be able to go.  It hit me hard.  I tried not to pay attention to the sadness that I was feeling.  I tried to just move on.  That wasn't a good idea, though.  I ended up feeling even worse from trying to hide the fact that I was feeling bad.  Ugh.

Anyway, I am better about it now.  I realize that my family's needs do need to come first.  If that means it takes another year to get past community college, that's okay.  If I end up needing to go to a state school instead of a university because the classes fit my schedule better, that's okay too.  The important part is that I don't give up.  I am setting an example for my girls.  I am teaching them lessons with my actions.  The last thing I would ever want to teach them is to give up.

So, that's what has been going on with me.  How have you been?